„DER FUSSBALL HAT EINE
ENORME KRAFT, DIE GESAMTE
GESELLSCHAFT ZU INSPIRIEREN“
Nachgefragt bei Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu, Leiterin für „Sports for
Climate Action“ bei den Vereinten Nationen
What responsibilities do you ascribe to football associations in
terms of climate prot ection?
Xhaferi-Salihu: Football is such a beautiful game and close to
heart for so many of us. Very few things in the world have such
a big, global and socially diverse community as those playing and
watching football. As such, it has a remarkable potential to drive
change by addressing its climate impact and advocating for climate
action towards athletes and fans. Professional associations will have
a larger footprint, more resources and are in a better position to lead
the way for a sustainable way of running football. They can pass on
lessons learned to the upcoming generation and empower them
with tools and knowledge for the football of the future. First, there
needs to be a genuine commitment that the organisation will take
a serious and a holistic approach to addressing its climate impact.
That it will carefully plan how they build, run and maintain stadiums
and focus on areas such as energy, water, transport, food, services
& products and waste to identify ways to be increasingly more
efficient and sustainable.
The main target groups of football associations are fans and
spectators. Their travel activity is the cause of a large part of
CO2 emissions attributed to it. How can spectators be persuaded
to change their mobility behaviour? How can VfL Wolfsburg
contribute to this?
Xhaferi-Salihu: Transport is a crucial element in the fight against
climate change. Sports can be catalysis of change for this sector by
increasing the demand for low carbon transport, by encouraging
spectators to take low-emission travel choices such as bikes, electric
vehicles or use of public transport. For example, Kombiticket is an
interesting offer in this regard but for international events there is
also a lot of value in exploring longer term strategies such as how
to reduce long-distance air travel and incentivize more of local and
regional spectators. VfL Wolfsburg could for example consider
campaigns to educate spectators in using sustainable transport
but also connect with key stakeholders involved in football to work
collectively and introduce approaches on both local and national
level so that low carbon transport becomes a norm and all football
clubs take a consistent and universal approach for travel to matches.
Finally, after reduction measures, one can compensate unavoidable
emissions generated by travel through credible offsetting schemes.
Where do you see football in ten years? Can there be climate
neutral match days?
Xhaferi-Salihu: Unfortunately, never has there been a greater
disconnect between the need for action and reality. Football can
lead the way, create a legacy and empower everyone to demand
more from governments and others. In ten years, if we are to keep
the planet safe, I hope football will be mature in delivering climate
neutral matches and Cups and working with sponsors and service
providers who have also committed to transforming to net zero. In
fact, I see spectators helping their favorite teams and clubs succeed
in their climate neutral journey. The phrase “you can change the
world” has been around for many generations, but never has there
been a generation that can make it come true like this one. For me
and for many others, football can change the world.